George and Maria (Green) Jackson were born in Selby, Yorkshire, England – George in 1845 and Maria in 1847.
George was the eldest of the five children of John and Mary (Dickinson) Jackson. He was educated in Selby, and worked as a buyer in a dry-goods store in Selby, and later in Manchester, before coming to the United States with his family in 1858. His father died the following year (1859) in Utica, NY and his mother died many years later in Manchester.
In 1869, George was married in Selby to Maria Green, the daughter of Mary Ann and Thomas Green, a successful shipbuilder. Maria was educated in a young ladies boarding school in Selby. According to H.H. Field in “The History of Pottawattamie County”, they crossed the Atlantic in thirteen days and traveled by land for two days before reaching Council Bluffs on June 11, 1871. George worked for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company as cashier for five years, and then for the Union Pacific Railroad in charge of the claim department at the transfer depot. His obituary states that he worked for the UPRR for many years.
Council Bluffs became the home of Mary Ann and Thomas Green and their entire family, which included (besides Maria) Richard, Robert, George, Martha and Thomas, Jr. – all born in England. In Yorkshire, Thomas followed his father in the shipbuilding business. In Council Bluffs, he and his two oldest sons, Richard and Robert, established the Thomas Green and Sons Packing. The product they produced was called Greendale Meats. It was a pork packing plant specializing in hams and bacon. The plant was located near today’s Valley View Park and used ice from Mosquito Creek. When talk of a stock yards became a subject of interest, Thomas was one of those who went to Chicago to negotiate with potential investors. The investors chose to locate in Omaha, and the plant closed several years later. According to city directories, Thomas Green and Sons were also lumber dealers.
Courthouse records indicate that Maria Jackson purchased the property at 517 S. First Street in 1875 and sold it in 1916. (Contrary to the popular belief that women could not own property, real estate transfer records often show the property listed in the wife’s name.) The style of the house is that of an early Queen Anne (1880 – 1910), especially in the roof design. According to Virginia and Lee McAlester’s “Field Guide to American Houses”, over half of all Queen Anne houses have a steeply hipped roof with one or more cross gables. Most commonly, there are two cross gables, one front-facing and one side-facing, both asymmetrically placed on their respective facades. Another indication of an early 1880s’ construction date of the house is the existence of steps leading to an elevated platform by the porch onto which passengers could alight from a carriage.
The house has undergone alterations through the years. Craftsman and Prairie styles came into their own in the early part of the twentieth century. Oftentimes a homeowner would choose to update a Victorian house, as a new style became popular, by covering bricks with stucco, or altering or enclosing a front porch. It is not known what changes may have been made to this still-lovely Queen Anne, although a fire during the 1990s revealed bricks in the construction of the original porch. This could indicate the house was originally brick- a common construction material used in Victorian houses.
The Jacksons had three daughters: Marion, Lillian – married F. H. Ellis, and Jessica – married William F. Siedentopf whose father, pioneer William F. Siedenhopf, Sr., was a real estate investor and a civic leader. The Jacksons owned several properties in the neighborhood. By 1920, according to the census records, they were living on neighboring Knepper Street and George Jackson was in the insurance business. The Jacksons were active in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and in the Masons and Eastern Star at the state level.
After George Jackson died in 1926, Maria is shown in city directories to be living with her daughters who had homes at 513 and 525 S. First Street. Her brother, Thomas, Jr., lived at 634 S. First Street. Maria died in 1933. The Jacksons are buried in Fairview Cemetery.
– Preserve Council Bluffs acknowledges the following sources of information: the reference department of the Council Bluffs Public Library, the auditor’s office of the Pottawattamie County courthouse, homeowners, and other researchers.